Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo says the decision by ECOWAS to invade Niger with a standby force is not the rightful thing to do.
He said ECOWAS should not have come across as a threat when the coup took place but should have issued a statement of easing things.
President Obasanjo was speaking to Youth Bridge Foundation’s Communications and Advocacy Manager Thomas Adotei Pappoe, on the sidelines of the 15th African youth and Governance Convergence in Mankessim Ghana.
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS sub-region has been hit by a wave of coups recently with the latest occurring in Niger.
ECOWAS after its deadline to the military Junta to restore president Mohammed Bazoum expired announced a standby force, but that move has been heavily criticized.
The former Nigerian head of State recalled telling Ghana’s General Akuffo that Nigerian troops coming to Ghana to restore constitutionality when a similar coup occurred was not the right thing to do.
He said the spread of coups is a result of deep-rooted causes in Africa which have not been treated.
“I see the spread of coups as you call it, as symptoms of deep-seated disease.”
“What we have now in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and now in the Niger Republic, we should interrogate and ask ourselves, what are the causes?.
He said some leaders lack understanding of what independence is which does not mean more abundant life, but great sacrifices to add to the economic situation and improve it tremendously.
He questioned the meaningful contributions of African economies after years of independence.
President Obasanjo said he is not surprised that the recent coups are being supported by citizens.
“The public are human beings; they know what is going on. If any leader anywhere in the world wants to ride roughshod on the public, he is undermining himself or herself. You can trample on them for most of the time and one time when they are fed-up and their back is against the wall, they will become desperate, and for a frustrated and desperate community anything can happen”
He said private military like Wagner from Russia are a great threat to Africa and must be stopped from operating.
Commending Youth Bridge Foundation for creating the leadership grooming platform, President Obasanjo encouraged youth attending the African Youth and Governance Convergence from across Africa to be organized in their approach in order to have their unified voices heard in governance.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, has emphatically defended the regional body’s stance on military intervention in Niger.
In response to calls urging a revocation of the decision for military action, Musah described such appeals as unjustifiable.
Addressing the Extraordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff convened in Accra, Ambassador Musah underscored the gravity of the situation in Niger.
The meeting is aimed to strategically outline an intervention plan for Niger, pending approval from ECOWAS leaders.
Ambassador Musah affirmed that if ongoing diplomatic dialogues fail to yield results, the standby force is prepared to act decisively.
He added that the regional body’s commitment to maintaining peace and stability within Niger remains unwavering.